EKARI Foundation’s work is driven on the ground by our Malawi team who develop and operate our programs. Our Malawi field office is staffed by Malawi nationals.

EKARI’s U.S. office based in Seattle, Washington focuses on fundraising and donor communication as well as supports program development. We have an active Board of Directors in the U.S. and Malawi who offer unmatched advisement, dedicate their time to raise money, and volunteer for our programs on the ground.

Elias Makina

ELIAS MAKINA, Co-founder, Malawi In-Country Director

Elias was born and raised in Malawi and knows first hand the challenges students face to receive an education.

Elias is Joseph EKARI Makina’s, for whom EKARI Foundation is named, younger brother.

Prior to joining EKARI full-time Elias worked with the Malawian Ministry of Health as Head of Health Facilities Maintenance in Phalombe, Malawi.

Elias holds an advanced craft diploma in brickwork from Namitete Technical College in Malawi, a certificate in Hospital Maintenance Management from Mombasa Polytechnic in Kenya, and a diploma in Business Management with through the University of Malawi Chancellor College.

MICHELLE BRADLEY, Co-founder, Executive Director

In 2007, Michelle was deeply affected by Malawi’s people during her first visit to Malawi. She resigned from her architecture career in 2010 after 10 1/2 years in order to pursue her true passion for community development.

In 2012, she received her Master’s Degree in Global Community Development from Northwest University in Washington.

Michelle lived for several months at a time in the rural communities of Malawi in order to better understand the culture and needs of the community members she serves. Michelle travels to Malawi annually to monitor and evaluate EKARI’s current programs and complete research for new programs.

Mable Phiri

MABLE PHIRI, Malawi Program Coordinator

After graduating from college, Mable completed a six month internship with EKARI Foundation. EKARI hired Mable as our full-time Program Coordinator due to her hard work ethic, high capacity to learn, and amazing people skills.

She holds a diploma in Horticulture from Malawi’s Natural Resources College. Mable manages our community programs, namely our Adult Literacy and Sustainable Livelihoods Programs, as well as supports Elias, our In-Country Director, with our student programs.

Jacqueline Chulu

JACQUELINE CHULU, Entrepreneurship Coordinator

Jacqueline has a degree in Agricultural Education from the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources and field experience working with small business groups.

Her duties with EKARI include monitoring existing small community agriculture and livestock business groups as well as supporting new and existing entrepreneurs as they develop and grow. She will use her expertise and passion to help our beneficiaries and our surrounding community to become more independent and confident in their abilities.

Christopher Loti

CHRISTOPHER LOTI, Youth Programs Coordinator

Christopher manages EKARI’s Sponsor a Student Program and Complementary Student Programs. Before working with EKARI, Christopher served as a secondary school teacher at Nzeru Independent Secondary School in Blantyre. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Education Degree from Mzuzu University, which he uses to compliment his passion to influence young minds.

Jacqueline Centie


Jacqueline is a Crop and Soil Scientist by profession. She is a holder of bachelor’s degree in Agronomy obtained from Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural resources and has field experience working with farmers to improve and manage their crops and soils.

As a Field Officer at Ekari Foundation, her duties include managing Victory gardens, providing counseling to farmers and making sure that all victory gardens are making profits, encouraging the farmers so that their small business plans work effectively and providing trainings to farmers on good agricultural practices in order for them to produce bumper yields. She will use her expertise and passion to help the beneficiaries and the surrounding communities to achieve bumper yields and zero hunger.

Adriane Berman
ADRIANE BERMAN, Development and Communications Manager

Adriane Berman brings more than 15 years of experience in the development, implementation, and management of global health programs. Most recently at PATH, she managed the proposal process including leading the development of grants  with a variety of donors.

She has spent many years working in Africa and is excited to be working for an organization addressing the needs of communities in Malawi. Adriane believes in the power of education and the importance it plays in helping lift people out of poverty. She has a Masters in Public Health from the University of Washington and a BA in International Studies from American University.

Malawi Student Board of Directors & Appointees

Chair: Promise; Vice Chair: Linley; Advisors: Stella, Aubrey M, Blessings, Chisomo, Dorothy, Michael, Timothy, Getrude, Dyson, Cathreen, Iness, Raphael, Christopher, Memory

EKARI’s Student Board of Directors represents the ‘voice’ of our students. The Board is responsible for providing student feedback to our Malawi Board of Directors, assisting with program development, and encouraging all students to take advantage of their education. They also support our students’ emotional needs by advising our students regarding family and personal issues and by performing conflict resolution activities. In support of our Student Board of Directors, we created student appointments to further promote leadership skills among our students! Each of our Complementary Student Programs has a student leader who assists our In-Country Director with minor tasks.



Malawi Board of Directors

WHITE YOHANE, Malawi Board President
Mr. Yohane is the Principal at Mpasa Secondary School where several of EKARI’s students attend. He holds a Diploma in Education from Domasi College of Education in Malawi. Mr. Yohane previously taught at Phalombe Secondary School where he taught sciences and was also the boarding master. His interest has always been in youth education and he enjoys giving advice to students and parents. He brings this interest to EKARI foundation when he participates in student/parent meetings in order to encourage our students and their families to focus on education and to utilize their chance with EKARI Foundation. 

Jeniffer Kapichi (2)JENNIFER KAPICHI, Malawi Board Vice President

Mrs. Kapichi has practiced nursing and midwifery since 2000 and anesthesiology since 2004. She currently works at Holy Family Hospital in the Phalombe District. She holds a diploma in Clinical Anesthesia and Intensive Medicine from the Malawi College of Health Sciences. Mrs. Kapichi brings her training and knowledge within the medical field to EKARI’s Health Education & HIV/AIDS Awareness Program as well as her awareness of rural Malawian life to all of our programs.


HARTLEY KALUA, Malawi Board Secretary
Mr. Kalua is the deputy principal at Phalombe Secondary School where several of EKARI Foundation students attend. He holds a Bachelor Degree of Arts and a post graduate certificate in education with a distinction from the University of Malawi. He is currently studying for his Masters in Education. He would love to see many orphans and vulnerable children benefit from EKARI so that the children will excel academically to a high level. For three years, Mr. Kalua previously held the responsibility of senior grade teacher and section head at Phalombe Secondary School.



MERVIS MAKANANI, Malawi Board Treasurer
Mrs. Makanani has 10 years experience working with the government of Malawi. She currently works with the Phalombe district’s Ministry of Health as an assistant accountant and previously worked for Phalombe’s Ministry of Education for six years. She will also be an asset to EKARI Foundation in building our long-term relationship with the local government and as well will provide assistance with our accounting best practices.



AONENJI SELEMANI, Malawi Board Director & Student Liaison
Aonenji is EKARI Foundation’s first success story. EKARI Foundation supported Aonenji through his senior year of high school and through teacher training college. Aonenji is now a primary school teacher and is studying in order to become a secondary school teacher. He enjoys encouraging his fellow students and occasionally assists with EKARI Foundation’s tutoring program in which he tutors our secondary school junior class students especially in Mathematics which has always been his favorite subject. In his spare time, Aonenji also teaches adult learners in the Phalombe area how to read and write.


FEBBIE MANYUNGWA, Malawi Board Director
Mrs. Manyungwa is the mother to one of EKARI’s students. Febbie meets with our female students during school breaks to discuss issues regarding HIV/AIDS, gender roles/stigmas, sex & pregnancy, and health. She has been involved in her community with regard to adult literacy and assisted EKARI Foundation in the development of our adult literacy program.




Robert Chifupa
ROBERT CHIFUPA, Malawi Board Director
Before joining World Vision in 2005 as the Development Facilitator for Education Projects, Mr. Chifupa worked as a high school teacher for three years. He holds a Diploma in Early Childhood Development and Education. Mr. Chifupa works in World Vision’s Phalombe office and is pleased to partner with EKARI Foundation as one of our board members.


U.S. Board of Directors

Francois Burianek, U.S. Board  & Governance Director 
Francois is honored to serve an organization that is making a broad impact in fundamental ways. Born and raised in South Africa, he later moved to the U. S. At the University of Florida, Francois received a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering. He now works at Microsoft and is blessed to work for a company that is generous and encourages philanthropy. He is passionate about both giving back to communities and making a difference with the largest return on investment. As a father, he is motivated to provide a bright future for both his and other children who may not have the means but do not lack for willingness.

Sally Heilstedt, U.S. Board President & Director of Programs
Sally graduated from Northwest University with a BA in Psychology and a MA in Global Community Development. She is deeply passionate about education and the transformative role it plays in people’s lives. Currently, she serves as the Coordinator for Assessment and Development at Lake Washington Institute of Technology. Prior to working in that role, she provided academic support services to first-generation college and low-income students through the federal TRiO

program. Currently, she volunteers as a tutor. EKARI holds a special place in Sally’s heart because it provides students the opportunity


Trevor DeWitt, U.S. Board, Marketing Advisor

Trevor DeWitt serves as EKARI’s board marketing advisor, bringing more than a decade of strategic marketing and communications experience within both the nonprofit and commercial sector. Currently, Trevor serves as Sr. Marketing Director at Katerra, a technology startup company, where he spearheads brand management, creative development, digital marketing, and product marketing. His prior experience includes the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Center for Infectious Disease Research, Human Rights Campaign, and various other political campaigns and organizations. Trevor holds an MA of International Relations from Tufts University and a BA of Political Science from the University of Washington.


Andrea Steele, U.S. Board, Development Advisor

Andrea Steele serves on EKARI’s board, bringing over 13 years of nonprofit experience in program management and fundraising. Currently the Database and Operations manager for The Bush School’s Development Department, Andrea has previously led fundraising initiatives at Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), the Center for Infectious Disease, Seattle Pacific University, and Compass Housing Alliance. Prior to her work in development, Andrea administered the domestic violence programs for the Salvation Army based in Downtown Seattle. A self-proclaimed Excel geek and data guru, Andrea is a champion of social justice causes. She holds a BA in History from Seattle Pacific University and an Executive MA in Nonprofit Leadership from Seattle University.


Joyce Mphande-Finn, U.S. Board

Joyce is an Associate Professor and core faculty member in the Master of Arts in Counseling program at City University of Seattle. Joyce has more than 15 years of counseling and supervision experience in community mental health agencies, college counseling centers, and private practice settings. Joyce has worked in community mental health agencies, college counseling centers, and private practice settings. She specializes in women and family counseling with domestic violence issues, cross-cultural issues, trauma, depression, HIV/AIDS, and the integration of mental health, substance abuse, and chronic illness. Joyce has also worked as a Language and Cultural trainer for the Peace Corps, Canadian, British, and a Coordinator for the Japanese and Volunteer Organizations in Malawi. In her volunteer work, in Malawi, through the World Health Organization, Joyce was involved in the early education of HIV/AIDS in rural areas in Malawi. She also provided adult literacy classes in the villages.